Have you ever wanted a baby to be a super fast swimmer like Michael Phelps? How about a child who has more talent than Mozart? Well, that can’t happen.
According to the New York Times Article, Scientists in Oregon have successfully modified the DNA of human embryos. This led to the new hope that designer babies are in our near future. But, designer babies are more likely to be seen in movies than in reality.
The main reason why designer babies are unlikely is because great vocals and amazing coordination does not come from a single gene mutation, or even from an easily identifiable number of genes.
Hank Greely, director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford, said,“Right now, we know nothing about genetic enhancement,”. “We’re never going to be able to say, honestly, ‘This embryo looks like a 1550 on the two-part SAT.’”
Physical traits, like height or arm length, will also be difficult to genetically manipulate. Some scientists estimate height is influenced by as many as 93,000 genetic variations. A recent study identified 697 of them.
Talents and traits aren’t the only thing that are genetically complex. So are most physical diseases and psychiatric disorders. The genetic message is not a picture book ,but it actually resembles a shelf full of books with chapters, subsections and footnotes.So talents, traits and most medical conditions are out of the equation.
But about 10,000 medical conditions are linked to specific mutations, including Huntington’s disease, cancers caused by BRCA genes, Tay-Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and some cases of early-onset Alzheimer’s. Repairing the responsible mutations in theory could eradicate these diseases from the so-called germline, the genetic material passed from one generation to the next. No future family members would inherit them.
Although this is challenging, it is proven to be more possible for scientists to alter the genes that lead to genetic diseases.
Last but not least, it is illegal.
There are debates regarding ethics and “playing God”. “I’m totally against,” said Dr. Belmonte. “The possibility of moving forward not to create or prevent disease but rather to perform gene enhancement in humans.”
Other people are scared of a super children takeover.
“Allowing any form of human germline modification leaves the way open for all kinds — especially when fertility clinics start offering ‘genetic upgrades’ to those able to afford them,” Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society, said in a statement. “ We could all too easily find ourselves in a world where some people’s children are considered biologically superior to the rest of us.”
In summary, genetic modification for babies will only be used in dire cases. Therefore, the only way I can have a red head child who can play the piano and the flute simultaneously with their feet is through Sims 4.